Around 120,000 students preparing to sit their first Junior and Leaving Cert exams this morning

The State exams kick off with English Paper One at 9.30am

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120,000 students are preparing to sit English Paper One in their Junior and Leaving Certificate exams this morning.

The exams begin at 9.30am - continuing until Thursday the 23rd of June for Junior Cert and Friday the 24th of June for Leaving Cert.

Almost 57,000 students are expected to sit the Leaving Certificate, with a further 2,800 to sit the Applied exam.

Meanwhile close to 61,000 students will sit the Junior Certificate.

The Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) wanted to pay special tribute to those mature students returning to sit the exams.

The Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland (ASTI) has encouraged students to stay calm, and remember that the exams are not the be all and end all.

The Education Minister is reminding pupils of the opportunities available to them after the exams.

Richard Bruton also said: "I know it's a tense time for parents, for students, for teachers, for everyone. But people can only do their best".